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Intimate EnemiesTranslation in Francophone Contexts$

Kathryn Batchelor and Claire Bisdorff

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9781846318672

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: January 2014

DOI: 10.5949/liverpool/9781846318672.001.0001

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Translation and its Others: Postcolonial Linguistic Strategies of Writers from the Francophone Indian Ocean

Translation and its Others: Postcolonial Linguistic Strategies of Writers from the Francophone Indian Ocean

(p.36) Translation and its Others: Postcolonial Linguistic Strategies of Writers from the Francophone Indian Ocean
Intimate Enemies

Peter Hawkins

Liverpool University Press

Abstract and Keywords

This article discusses the difficulties of postcolonial writers in confronting a situation of linguistic hegemony effectively imposed by the former colonial languages, French and to a lesser extent, English, on the literary output of the Indian Ocean islands. Many writers from the area seek to maintain the status of local languages as vehicles for literary expression, such as Malagasy or the creoles of Mauritius or Reunion. At the same time the use of French or English gives potential access to publishing opportunities, an international audience and the possibility of wider diffusion of their work. This paradoxical situation leads them to experiment with a range of solutions, such as parallel publication of two versions of a novel, bilingual editions of poems or the creation of hybrid texts in which the indigenous local languages are incorporated into texts in an idiosyncratic French.

Keywords:   Postcolonial writers, Colonial languages, Hybridity, Creoles, Malagasy, Bi-lingual editions, Novels, Poetry, Drama, Music

Ever since the period of anti-colonial movements after the Second World War, and continuing through the period of decolonization of the 1960s, there have been movements to revalorize the use of local and indigenous languages, particularly in the context of literary expression. This was regarded as an essential part of the process of liberation from colonial dominance by the European powers, principally Britain and France, but also to a lesser extent Portugal. The movement is summed up in a famous article by Ngũgĩ wa Thiong'o, writing in the context of emergent Kenyan nationalism, as ‘Decolonising the mind’.1 Ngũgĩ argued that it is only by writing in African languages that African writers will be able to connect with the values of their own culture. Not all African writers agreed, however: most notably, the Nigerian author Chinua Achebe claimed that it was possible to adapt the colonial language to express the realities of the colonial situation from the point of view of the colonized peoples.2 Some fifty years on from the period of decolonization, it is clear that English and French remain the dominant languages of literary expression in the former colonies of Britain and France, and writing in one of the former colonial languages is often the only way to reach an international audience and to achieve some form of international recognition. Even so, the postcolonial and nationalist preference for writing (p.37) in indigenous and local languages persists in the former colonies, in what has sometimes been called a situation of ‘literary diglossia’.3 In spite of the dominance of the colonial languages in official discourse, in the education systems, in the mass media, postcolonial writers still feel the need to defend their indigenous languages as a preferred vehicle for literary expression.

One of the interesting features of this tendency is the role attributed to literary output, as opposed to the more vehicular uses of a local language: technical, scientific, educational, etc. Literary production is seen as the expression of a particular cultural sensibility, a set of values embodied in a language and celebrated in its literary deployment. It is sometimes assumed that a literary heritage confers a special prestige, a dignity, to what might otherwise be dismissed as a local particularity, a circumscribed cultural characteristic whose relevance is limited to a particular political or geographical area. Literary output in indigenous languages is seen as an integral part of the anti-colonial movement, of resistance to the hegemony of Western cultures, and as a contribution to the creation of a national sensibility, as a part of a claim to international recognition for a specific culture.

In this situation, there is not surprisingly a tension between the partisans of literary expression in local minority languages and the predominant use of the former colonial language. This gives rise to a need for translation and adaptation, in order to ensure the wider diffusion of local writing, and in some cases the adoption of new strategies on the part of writers to overcome the problem of marginalization that inevitably arises in such situations. The islands of the South-West Indian Ocean provide an interesting case study of the ways in which these tensions are played out. Madagascar, Mauritius, Reunion, the Seychelles and the Comoros represent an area where linguistic diversity is commonplace, where there exists a considerable body of literary output in both colonial languages and local vernaculars. The islands were all at some time colonies of France and in the case of Mauritius and the Seychelles also of Britain. French is thus a predominant medium of expression in the region, but the language of the education systems in the two former British colonies remains English. Madagascar possesses a considerable body of literature in the Malagasy language, and in recent decades there has been a growing production of literature in Creole from Reunion, Mauritius and the Seychelles. The Comoros islands have a heritage of writing in Arabic, arising from their pre-colonial participation in the Arab trading routes along the east coast of Africa. To add to this complexity, the various waves of immigrant labour in Mauritius brought with them Indian languages such (p.38) as Hindi, Urdu and Tamil, and even Mandarin Chinese. All of the elements of this linguistic diversity include attempts to use the languages concerned for literary expression, however limited in audience and however paradoxical their relation to the dominant culture of the former colonial languages. The purpose of this chapter is to examine the role of translation in the strategies adopted by postcolonial writers in the region in dealing with this situation.4

In order to situate the relevance of the need for translation, let us examine in more detail the particular situations arising in each of the territories outlined above. Madagascar has the strongest tradition of writing in an indigenous language. The Malagasy language was first transcribed into Roman script by British missionaries in the early nineteenth century, as part of their evangelizing mission: the aim was to translate the Bible into the vernacular, so as to make it accessible to the local population. An unintended result of this enterprise was the emergence of a written literature in Malagasy well before the French annexation of the island in 1896. Even though this writing was subsequently regarded as suspect and possibly subversive by the French colonial authorities, who wanted to impose the use of French, it has remained a strong tradition up to the present day, with poetry, drama and fiction written and published locally in Malagasy. But the diffusion and the recognition of this literature beyond the boundaries of the ‘grande île’ were necessarily limited, and this led to writers adopting the strategy of translating their work into French, and, in some cases, after achieving local success with writing in Malagasy, adopting the colonial language as their medium of expression in the interest of reaching a wider audience. Two examples from the colonial period serve to illustrate this situation.

The first is Jean Paulhan's volume of Hain-Teny merina, initially published in France in 1913. It is an anthology of traditional Malagasy proverbial poems, translated into French by Paulhan and presented in a bilingual edition in both languages. The Hain-Teny, analogous to the form of the haiku, were anonymous poems drawn from Malagasy folklore, and Paulhan collected them during his period as a colonial administrator from 1908 to 1910, while he was simultaneously teaching French and learning Malagasy. The volume enjoyed a considerable notoriety and has often been republished, most recently in 1991 in Madagascar. The choice of a bilingual presentation has probably influenced later writers, such as Jean-Joseph Rabearivelo and Esther Nirina, who have both played on their double allegiance to Malagasy and to French. Since most Malagasy are still educated in French, the bilingual (p.39) treatment of these subtle, poetic texts has proved an asset to their wide popularity. They typically feature simple narratives, often concerned with courtship and embodied in dialogues where the natural environment of Madagascar is drawn on for evocative metaphors. They also contain playful humour and statements of proverbial wisdom, sometimes wrapped up in elaborate symbolism whose significance is often obscure. Paulhan's interest in the texts probably derived from their enigmatic quality, much prized in the post-symbolist climate of French writing at the beginning of the twentieth century; yet his translations are meticulous, explaining the secondary implications of the symbolism in copious footnotes, where his knowledge of Malagasy idiom and custom allows it. It does not occur to him, however, to adapt the translated texts to make these implications more explicit: he seems more concerned to reproduce in French the mysterious charm of the original Malagasy texts, while remaining faithful to the literal sense of the source material.5

It seems likely that the example of Paulhan's anthology influenced the young poet Jean-Joseph Rabearivelo, whose writing plays on the ambivalence of his expression in both Malagasy and French. In the 1920s, the young Rabearivelo was writing poems in both languages and publishing them in literary reviews in Madagascar and in France. One of his best-known collections of poems, Traduit de la nuit [Translated from the Night] of 1935 incorporates the idea of translation into its title, but the first French edition did not include the Malagasy versions of the poems. Indeed, it is not clear which language the poet used for the first drafts of the collection: the first bilingual edition including the texts in Malagasy was only published in 1960, long after the poet's death in 1937. It seems that the poet probably drafted his poetic texts simultaneously in Malagasy and in French, drawing on the interaction between the two languages to fine tune his poetic inspiration.6 In this case it is questionable whether we are dealing with translation as such, but rather with a form of bilingual composition. Rabearivelo was certainly very interested in questions of poetic translation, and practised it in both directions: he adapted poems by Baudelaire, Verlaine, Rimbaud, Laforgue and Valéry into Malagasy, and also poems in other languages, such as those by Rilke, Whitman, Tagore and Gongora. He also followed the example of Paulhan in translating traditional hain-teny texts into French, as in the posthumous volume Vieilles Chansons des Pays d'Imerina [Old Songs from Merina Country] of 1939. Rabearivelo's concern was clearly to defend and maintain the value of literary expression in his native Malagasy, but at the (p.40) same time to achieve recognition for it in the colonial centre through his mastery of French. He seems to have been fascinated by the interaction between the two languages that arose out of the process of translation, to the point of making use of it as a technique of composition. Jean-Louis Joubert's comments on the manuscripts of his poems, where the two versions of the poems are drafted and corrected side by side, have been followed up by more recent scholars such as Claire Riffard, the editor of the most recent (2007) edition of Traduit de la nuit. In contradictory statements, quoted by Joubert, Rabearivelo has been reported as claiming that the texts were first written in French, but then denying that he wrote directly in French. It would seem from this that the process of composition was effectively one in which he was attempting to write using both languages at the same time.

The heritage of Rabearivelo's experiments in bilingual composition was perpetuated by the poet Esther Nirina, who lived most of her active life in France and published collections of poetry in Malagasy and in French.7 The most striking illustration of this is the bilingual edition of her collection Mirolana an-tsoratra /Dire par écrit /Le dire par écrit [Speaking it in Writing] of 2004, which consists of the poet's own translations of her original Malagasy texts juxtaposed with those of a professional translator. The purpose of this strategy appears to be, as with Rabearivelo, an invitation to the reader to participate in the subtleties of translation, but this time by comparing the different renderings of the original verse. The effect is to highlight the particular qualities of expression in the indigenous language by foregrounding the differences in the target language. Nirina thus incorporates an exercise in comparative translation as a literary technique, emphasizing the limitations of the former colonial language in relation to the indigenous linguistic culture, and questioning the efficacy of the process of translation, even when it is conducted by the author herself. Indeed, as in the title of the collection, the author's own renditions are generally more blunt and less lyrical than those of her translator. It is clear even so that in this case the Malagasy texts represent the original literary material, and that the translations are secondary to them.

In Mauritius, the language most often adopted for literary expression is French, arising from the establishment of a literary culture in the early French colonization of the eighteenth century. But the arrival of African slaves and the waves of indentured labour in the nineteenth century led to the development of a Mauritian Creole, and the proliferation of Indian languages among the indentured population. When the British conquered Mauritius in 1810, during the Napoleonic wars, they subsequently modelled (p.41) the island's education system along British lines, with the result that to this day English is the language of teaching, and to a large extent of government and administration. After independence in 1968, there was a movement to develop a literature in Creole, regarded by some as Morisien, the authentic Mauritian lingua franca.8 This Creole, although of Franco-African origin, was championed by Dev Virahsawmy in his abundant writing for the theatre, adapting the stories of Shakespeare and Molière for a popular Mauritian audience, but also translating French, English and Sanscrit poetry into Creole. One of his earliest, politically charged, dramas, LI, was published in 1979 in a trilingual edition, with versions in French and in Reunionese Creole as well as the original Mauritian Creole text. Virahsawmy did not continue this practice, however, and his subsequent work has only rarely been translated, an exception being the English adaptation of Toufann, a version of Shakespeare's Tempest, by Nisha and Michael Walling.9 In the end, Virahsawmy seems to see his role as a militant defender of Mauritian Creole as largely circumscribed within the sphere of Mauritian society, celebrating an indigenous oral culture through the medium of theatre, but also relating his practice to other Creole cultures through his principal website.10 He has published poems in Creole on his website, and provided translations into English rather than French, an unusual choice in the Mauritian context where French is usually regarded as the principal literary language.11

Another strand in the multilingual literary output of Mauritius is the substantial body of writing in Hindi, principally in the form of novels, by Abhimanyu Unnuth, usually published in India. Some of these texts have been translated into French, however, notably Les Empereurs de la nuit [Emperors of the Night] (1983) by Aslakha Callikan-Proag and Le Culte du sol [The Cult of the Soil] (1997) by Kessen Budhoo and Shakuntala Boolell, both published locally in Mauritius. Unnuth's major novel Sueurs de sang [Sweats of Blood] (2001) was translated by Kessen Budhoo and Isabelle Jarry and was published in France by Stock, with a preface by the recent Nobel laureate J. M. G. Le Clézio, thus offering a degree of recognition in the European literary world for a writer who would otherwise be relatively little known, as well as access to a Mauritian audience who would not necessarily be able to read Hindi. It is interesting that a major author such as Unnuth needs to depend on translation for recognition on his home territory: even if the use of Hindi gives him access to a large Indian audience, it also (p.42) represents a barrier for the non-Indian sections of the Mauritian population. This unusual situation gives the lie to the conventional assumption that translation into the colonial language is automatically oriented towards international recognition: in this case it is clearly intended in the first instance to provide access to a local audience. Similarly, the choice of Hindi as a primary mode of expression, even if it has anti-colonial implications, is also intended to ensure access to a wider audience, that of the Indian subcontinent.

Two of the major women novelists from Mauritius, Lindsey Collen, writing in English, and Ananda Devi, writing in French, have attempted to bridge the linguistic divisions by adapting and translating their own work. Lindsey Collen published a novel in Mauritian Creole called Mision Garson (1996), which she subsequently adapted into English as Boy (2004) and was awarded the Commonwealth Prize for Literature for the second time. In this way she was able to champion the literary use of the local vernacular, as well as reaping the benefits of international recognition for her work. Ananda Devi has adapted her novel Pagli (2001) into English, for publication in India, but although perfectly at home in English she expresses a certain dissatisfaction with her attempts to write in English, and prefers French as her normal medium of literary expression.12 As yet, none of her novels has been published in the international English-language market, in spite of her considerable recognition as a Francophone writer published by the prestigious Gallimard imprint. These two examples illustrate the strategy of the parallel version of a literary text in two languages, both produced by the author, rather than the more conventional reliance on translation by a third party, most often a professional translator commissioned by the publishing house. They also illustrate the importance of access to an international publishing outlet for writers based in the former colonial territories, who might otherwise remain marginalized, even when they are predominantly making use of the language of the erstwhile colonial powers. Both writers insist, however, that their versions of their novels are not merely translations, but vary significantly from their own original texts. This may be as much a question of the different associations of the languages used as one of differences in plot or characterization: it is indeed difficult to imagine how the poetic and suggestive prose of Ananda Devi might be rendered into English, even in the context of an Indian publication. She herself remarks that even the title Pagli, meaning ‘mad woman’ in Hindi, is more exotic in French than its more banal usage in India.13 The English version of Pagli does remain fairly (p.43) close to its French original, with some stylistic embellishments particular to English substituting for stylistic flourishes more appropriate in French.14 Lindsey Collen, similarly, insists that Boy is not simply a translation of Mision Garson, but rather a ‘reworking’ in a different language.15 Boy is in practice quite far removed from its Creole version in Mision Garson: only the plot and principal characters are carried across into the English version, and the linguistic effects and even the division into chapters are quite different in the two versions.

A similar situation arises for the writers of neighbouring Reunion island, which also boasts a literary production in the local Reunionese Creole as well as in French. One of the island's major novelists, Axel Gauvin, was brought up speaking both Creole and standard French, and in his youth championed the use of Creole in a landmark pamphlet of 1977, Du Créole opprimé au Créole libéré – défense de la langue réunionnaise [From Oppressed Creole to liberated Creole – in Defence of the Reunionese Language]. His earliest novels were published in parallel versions, in Creole and in French: Quartier trois-lettres [Three-letter District] of 1980 was followed by Kartié trwa let in 1984, and Faims d'enfance [Childhood Hungers] of 1987 by Bayalina in 1995. He explained in an interview that, for him, both versions represented a psychological necessity arising from his bilingual background.16

The two versions of Faims d'enfance and Bayalina remain fairly close, in spite of the difference of title: the variation seems less marked than in the parallel versions of Lindsey Collen and Ananda Devi. Since then, however, his novels have appeared only in French versions: L'Aimé [The Loved One] in 1990, Cravate et fils [Cravate and Son] in 1996, and Train fou [Runaway Train] in 2000. This may be as a result of the economics of publishing: the potential audience for a book in Reunionese Creole is much more limited than that of a novel in standard French. The publication in Creole usually depends on a subsidy from the local cultural authorities, whereas the French version benefits from the prestige of a major Parisian publishing house such as Le Seuil. It is worth examining the case of L'Aimé in a little more detail, however.17 In this novel, Gauvin appears to have adopted a compromise solution, by Creolizing to some extent the French he uses to narrate the story of a devoted grandmother's attempt to raise her abandoned grandson in the setting of a smallholding in the mountains of the south of the island. This (p.44) represents a more muted version of a strategy used to great effect by the 1993 winner of the prestigious Prix Goncourt, Texaco by Patrick Chamoiseau. The style of L'Aimé corresponds to a familiar register of local French, inflected by occasional Creolisms and popular Reunionese turns of phrase, in which the narrator takes on the persona of a complicit, local observer of the intimate events of the novel. Gauvin has claimed that an unpublished Creole version of L'Aimé does exist, but it would appear that he has sacrificed this parallel version in favour of a hybrid solution to the problem of tension between the two languages that are part of his heritage.

Poetry in Reunion reveals a similar tension between Creole and standard French. The poetic anthologies of Jean-Claude Carpanin Marimoutou are bilingual, but in a different way from those of Jean-Joseph Rabearivelo and Esther Nirina. Both of his collections, Romans pou la tèr ek la mer [Romance for the Land with the Sea] 1995 and Narlgon la lang [Banner Language] (2002) oscillate between texts in Creole and texts in French, but without attempting to mediate between the two. As with Axel Gauvin, Carpanin Marimoutou feels the need to express his sensibility in both languages: born into a Creole-speaking milieu but professionally a university teacher and researcher in French language and literature, it is not surprising that he maintains his loyalty to both. The two languages are treated more or less equally, and there is no systematic attempt to provide translations. Some of the texts appear in parallel versions, however, in Creole and in French, without any suggestion that these are intended as translations. The average reader is likely, however, to find the texts in French more accessible, since the readership of writing in Reunionese Creole is limited to the island and not widely practised. The proximity of the two languages does produce an interaction, however. It is possible for a non-Creolophone to interpret the texts in Creole by reading them aloud, when the similarities of vocabulary and idiom to standard French become more apparent. The oral quality of the texts in Creole also becomes more evident, and they lend themselves to recitation and performance. Carpanin has recorded a recitation of his texts on a CD, and it is clear that it is in oral performance that the Creole language comes into its own. As for the dramatist Dev Virahsawmy, Creole is a privileged vehicle for popular entertainment and theatre. This is one of the features of Carpanin's poetic writing which has led him to provide lyrics for the musical group Ziskakan: the texts of these are mostly contained in the first of the collections mentioned above, but they can also be found in the sleeve booklets of the group's CDs. Carpanin also provided French translations of the Creole lyrics on two of the group's albums: Kaskasnikola and Soley glasé.

Carpanin is only one amongst several Creole poets providing lyrics for the group Ziskakan, and the majority of these are effectively composed by (p.45) the group's leader, Gilbert Pounia, who has also published a collection of his own poetic texts in Creole, Somin Granbwa of 1997. In this volume, unlike those of Carpanin, translations into French are provided in a properly bilingual edition. It is clear, however, that these French texts are translations, and as such subordinate to the Creole lyrics as they are performed on the CDs of Ziskakan. Pounia appears to be prepared to make some allowances for a non-Creolophone reader or listener, although on some of the later releases of Ziskakan only the text in Creole is provided on the sleeve, as in the albums 4 ti mo 1999 and Rimayer (2001). A fellow Creole poet and singer and an ardent champion of the Reunionese Creole language culture is Danyel Waro, who has toured extensively in Europe and elsewhere on World Music networks. Danyel Waro's attitude was initially more militant and less compromising than Pounia: he provided no translations into French, either on his albums, such as Batarsité of 1994, or in his collection of texts and song lyrics, Demavouz la vi of 1995. This strategy of refusal to translate represents an extreme position, a political gesture of protest and an assertion of the autonomy of the Creole language and culture in the face of widespread condescension and dismissal on the part of the French authorities, who for many years tried to marginalize or suppress it. The texts in Creole are carried along by the performance of the singer's soulful voice and his dynamic rhythmic accompaniment: in this context he can perhaps afford to dispense with the luxury of translation. In more recent times, Waro has softened his attitude to translation, however: on CD collections such as Foutan fonnker of 1999 he provides brief summaries of the content of the lyrics in French, German and English, and on Bwarouz of 2001 he provides full translations of his lyrics into French. This change is probably attributable to his growing success as a performer in mainland France, as well as elsewhere in Europe, in ‘world music’ festivals such as WOMAD, whose audiences are unfamiliar with the Creole of his native Reunion.

The smaller island territories, the Comoros and the Seychelles, remain fairly marginal to this discussion: their literary production is very limited and the role of translation in its recent development of no great significance. The embryonic literature of the Seychelles, whether in Creole, French or English, is mostly aimed at the local population and the issue of translation scarcely arises. In the Comoros, on the other hand, there is a substantial tradition of oral poetry, Islamic devotional poetry, epics and folktales in local languages and often transcribed in Arabic script. The role of translation here is crucial in bringing to the attention of an international audience the richness of this relatively little known body of literary expression. It has fallen to academic and ethnographic researchers to provide access to this by transcribing and translating the oral heritage collected from orators (p.46) and performers in the archipelago. Combining an academic study with an anthology of original texts and translations into French, a volume such as Guerriers, Princes et Poètes aux Comores by Moussa Said Ahmed provides a precious document of this oral literature. In this instance translation provides an exclusive access to material that would otherwise remain obscure, and an invaluable insight into pre-colonial cultures that might otherwise be neglected.

What conclusions can be drawn from this brief but wide-ranging survey of the importance of translation for a relatively marginal body of postcolonial writing? It is clear that for any writer who is concerned to celebrate a non-European language and its culture, the possibility of translation is an essential concern in order to achieve international recognition, even if the manner in which this is realized allows for significant variations. The market for literary translations into English is said to be distressingly limited, in contrast to the global reach of English-language publications. French is less international in its diffusion, but the French publishing industry seems to be more receptive to translated material. In either case, it is most common for a writer to depend on a professional translator to adapt the material for the international market. This is not the only solution, however. Many writers from the Indian Ocean islands have adopted the solution of providing their own translations in the form of a parallel edition of their work. These twin versions sometimes diverge to such an extent that the second constitutes a reworking rather than a direct translation, a re-creation with the status of a separate work. The bilingual edition is also a solution that allows the writer to maintain the presence of the original language in counterpoint to a translation, and this has led to some interesting experiments in bilingual composition on the part of figures such as Rabearivelo. A further experimental approach to the problem would involve adapting the colonial language so as to infuse into it some of the characteristics of the writer's own vernacular, but this represents an artistic challenge that might defeat a non-native speaker and alienate a conservative reader of the target language. In some cases it may even be possible for a vernacular writer to dispense with the necessity of translation altogether: this seems to occur when the literary material is associated with live performance, or accompanied by music. In this instance, expression in the vernacular can rely on the direct communication of popular theatre, or be carried along by a musical performance that transcends linguistic barriers. More often than not, however, translation into the former colonial language represents an unavoidable strategy for postcolonial writers concerned to promote an awareness of their indigenous culture in an international sphere: but the manner in which this is accomplished provides considerable room for manoeuvre.

(p.47) Works Cited

Bibliography references:

Ashcroft, Bill, Gareth Griffiths and Helen Tiffin (eds). 1995. The Postcolonial Studies Reader. London: Routledge.

Beniamino, Michel. 1999. La Francophonie littéraire. Paris: L'Harmattan.

Chamoiseau, Patrick. 1993. Texaco. Paris: Gallimard.

Collen, Lindsey. 1996. Mision Garson. Port Louis, Mauritius: LPT.

—. 2005. Boy. London: Bloomsbury.

Devi, Ananda. 2001. Pagli. Paris: Gallimard, Continents noirs series.

—. 2011. ‘Wedding Cake’ (an extract from the English version of Pagli). Wasafiri 66: 14–17.

Gauvin, Axel. 1977. Du Créole opprimé au Créole libéré. Paris: L'Harmattan.

—. 1980. Quartier trois-lettres. Paris: L'Harmattan.

—. 1984. Kartié trwa lèt. Saint Denis de la Réunion: Éditions Ziskakan.

—. 1987. Faims d'enfance. Paris: Seuil.

—. 1990. L'Aimé. Paris: Seuil.

—. 1995. Bayalina. Saint Denis de la Réunion: Grand Océan.

—. 1996. Cravate et fils. Paris: Seuil.

—. 2000. Train fou. Paris: Seuil.

Hawkins, Peter. 2007. The Other Hybrid Archipelago-Introduction to the Literatures and Cultures of the Francophone Indian Ocean. Lanham, MD: Lexington.

—. 2011. ‘An Interview with Ananda Devi’. Wasafiri 66: 8–13.

Hitchcott, Nicki. 2001. ‘Axel Gauvin’. In Malcolm Offord, Laïla Ibnlfassi, Nicki Hitchcott, Sam Haigh and Rosemary Chapman, Francophone Literatures: A Literary and Linguistic Companion. London: Routledge: 135–44

Joubert, Jean-Louis. 1991. Littératures de l'Océan indien. Paris: EDICEF/AUPELF.

Marimoutou, Carpanin. 1995. Romans pou la tèr ek la mèr. Saint Denis de la Réunion: Grand Océan.

—. 2002. Narlgon la lang. Marseilles: Éditions K'A.

Ngũgĩ wa Thiong'o. 1995. ‘The Language of African Literature’. In Bill Ashcroft, Gareth Griffiths and Helen Tiffin (eds), The Postcolonial Studies Reader. London: Routledge: 285–90.

Nirina, Esther. 2004. Mirolana an-tsoatra/Dire par écrit/Le dire par écrit. Saint Denis de la Réunion: Grand Océan.

Paulhan, Jean. 1991. Hain-teny merina: poésies populaires malgaches. Antananarivo, Madagascar: Foi et Justice.

Pounia, Gilbert. 1997. Somin Granbwa. Saint Denis de la Réunion: Grand Océan.

Rabearivelo, Jean-Joseph. 1939. Vieilles chansons des pays d'Imerina. Tananarive, Madagascar: Imprimerie officielle.

(p.48) —. 2007. Traduit de la nuit/Nadika tamin'ny Alina. St Maur-des-Fossés: Sepia.

Said Ahmed, Moussa. 2000. Guerriers, Princes et Poètes aux Comores. Paris: L'Harmattan.

Unnuth, Abhimanyu. 1983. Les Empereurs de la nuit. Translated into French by Aslakha Callikhan-Proag. Moka, Mauritius: Éditions de l'Océan Indien/Mahatma Gandhi Institute.

—. 1997. Le culte du sol. Translated into French by Kessen Budhoo and Shakuntala Boolell. Vacoas, Mauritius: Éditions Le Printemps.

—. 2001. Sueurs de sang. Translated from the original Hindi by Kessen Budhoo and Isabelle Jarry. Paris: Stock.

Virahsawmy, Dev. 1979. Li. Port Louis, Mauritius and Saint Denis de la Réunion: MMMS P/Olympic Printing/Les Chemins de la Liberté.

—. 2001. Toufann. Translated by Nisha and Michael Walling. In Martin Banham, James Gibbs and Femi Osofisan (eds), African Theatre: Playwrights and Politics. Oxford: James Currey: 217–53.

—. 2004. BOUKIE BANANE III. Webpage containing poems translated into English. <www.poezi.blogspot.co.uk>. Consulted 20 March 2012.

—. 2011. Virahsawmy's official website. <www.dev-virahhsawmy.org>. Consulted 20 March 2012.

Waro, Danyel. 1996. Demavouz la vi. Saint Denis de la Réunion: Grand Océan.


Bibliography references:

Marimoutou, Carpanin. 1999. Koz langaz. (Poet La Réunion No. 1). Marseilles: Éditions K'A, No. DCC 005.

Waro, Danyel. 1993. Batarsité. Saint André, Réunion: Piros, No. CDP 5198.

—. 1999. Foutan fonnker. Paris: Cobalt, No. 09293–2.

—. 2001. Bwarouz, Paris: Cobalt, No. 09351–2.

Ziskakan. 1993. Kaskasnikola, Paris: Mango/Island, No. 514 974–2.

—. 1996. Soley glasé. Paris: Sankara/Mercury, No. 532 410–2.

—. 1999. 4 ti mo. Réunion: Discorama, No. 9908.

—. 2001. Rimayer. Réunion: Discorama, No. 2001.09.


(1) See Ngũgĩ, 1995.

(2) See Ngũgĩ, 1995: 285–86.

(3) See Beniamino, 1999: 219–26.

(4) I use the term ‘postcolonial’ in the a-temporal sense, as defined by Ashcroft, Griffiths and Tiffin and reaffirmed in my book (see Hawkins, 2007: 52), covering responses to colonialism dating from the colonial period.

(5) For a more detailed example, see Hawkins, 2007: 72–73.

(6) See Joubert, 1991: 67.

(7) See Hawkins, 2007: 76–78.

(8) See Virahsawmy, 2011 (website).

(9) Virahsawmy, 2001.

(10) See Virahsawmy, 2011 (website).

(11) See Virahsawmy, 2004 (website).

(12) See Hawkins, 2011: 12.

(13) See Hawkins, 2011: 10.

(14) See Devi, 2011: 14–17.

(15) Described as such in the postface to the English edition and confirmed in informal conversation at a touring presentation of the book.

(16) In an unpublished interview with the author in 1999.

(17) For an extract and commentary, see Hitchcott, 2001: 135–44.